Adding the genetic tests expands the services the contract research organisation (CRO) can offer in the field of personalised medicine, which could prove to be more effective and safer than currently available therapies.
Pharma companies have identified this as a possible breakthrough in oncology and consequently TMD has expanded its service offering beyond the KRAS test by adding BRAF and PI3KCA, assays that detect gene mutations involved in tumour growth.
Christopher Ung, vice president strategic business and operations for Quintiles’ TMD lab, said: “TMD was among the first laboratories to offer the KRAS test for the clinical development of treatments. Using mutation assays is likely to become the standard of care in the future.
“Today, we are among the first to offer BRAF and PI3KCA assays, as these solid tumor mutations are on the leading edge of cancer research and personalized treatment options.”
Assays spur cancer treatments
Mutations to the BRAF gene are seen in many cancers and this is believed to increase tumour growth and spread. TMD’s BRAF assay detects the most commonly occurring mutation in the gene, giving knowledge that could be used to develop treatments to slow tumour growth.
PI3KCA mutations have been identified in various solid tumours, such as breast, ovarian, colon, liver and stomach cancer, and the assay is capable of detecting the four most common mutations in the gene.
These two assays follow the launch of TMD’s test for mutations in KRAS, a gene that is believed to prominent in the development of colorectal cancer.
The gene’s significance was highlighted recently when American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer recommended that all patients with metastatic colorectal cancer are screened for KRAS mutations.